Thursday, 2 July 2015

Dinner with Strada

Last week I was kindly invited out for a blogger dinner with the Italian restaurant Strada. We were treated like Queens! Alongside free-flowing prosecco and white wine, we were given canap├ęs and three courses in front of one of the city's most famous landmarks - London Bridge. It was such a wonderful evening and so lovely to get to know like-minded bloggers who are obsessed with food!

I have to be honest and admit that I tend to stay away from most chain restaurants as I think the food scene in London is of such a high quality, it seems a shame to go somewhere with mass produced food. But I will eat my hat! Strada has bucked the trend and is producing fresh, tasty food for its customers.

We were given plump green nocellara olives to start. Next up was a fresh caprese salad consisting of creamy buffalo mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, basil and a generous drizzle of olive oil. The perfect dish to help soak up the summer! Then I tried Burrata for the first time draped on top of proscuitto ham with crunchy toast - my favourite of the tasters. Creamy risotto and tender rare steak followed. Finally we were presented with a crispy veal covered in crunchy breadcrumbs. My belly was already feeling full and then we were told we would be treated to a three course meal of our choice. Wow!

For my starter I couldn't help but opt for the Spring Veggie Bruschetta on such a warm evening. Peas, spring onions and soya beans were mixed with creamy ricotta, mint and a squeeze of bitter lemon. It was the perfect portion size and the soft cheese went brilliantly with the crunchy slice of bread. For my main I chose the Cavatappi Genovese. El dente corkscrew pasta was smothered in basil nuts, topped with crunchy pine nuts alongside a scattering of soft new potatoes and fresh green beans. Delicious! I never wanted the bowl of pasta to run out! Finally for my dessert I wanted something light to counteract such a huge meal! The lemon sorbet was a no brainer. It was incredibly refreshing - just the ticket to end such a fantastic meal.

I joined the head chef of the restaurant to attempt to spin my own pizza base. He certainly made it look a lot easier than it was. Simply covered in a tart tomato sauce and nutty pesto, the pizza was divine. It tasted all the better knowing that I spun it myself. Not bad for my first attempt - but lets look over the fact it looks slightly oval!

I finally got the train home with a full belly, feeling a little merry and armed with an amazing personalised Strada apron. It was a lovely way to see out a Thursday - thanks for the invite guys! Big thanks to Angela and Felicia for catching me in action too!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A Luxembourg City Guide

Bock Casemates
Way back in 963, a fort was built around Luxembourg. Within this was a 23km long network of casemates housed a community underneath. Soldiers, horses, bakeries, kitchens, workshops and slaughter houses were all buried underground. 17kg of the tunnels still remain this very day. It's an amazing, unique experience to walk around deep underground and imagine what it was like hundreds of years ago. Make sure you stop and peer out of the gaps for amazing views of the city. Be prepared for the tunnels to be very narrow and for lots of stairs to be climbed.

Philharmonie Luxembourg 
This stunning modern building hosts various musical events throughout the year - it's home to the incredible Philharmonic Orchestra of Luxembourg. We luckily managed to catch them in a free open air concert so make sure you try and grab tickets to see them at the concert hall. They give you goosebumps!

Chocolate House
If you have a sweet tooth, you'll be in your element here. Word of warning, when you choose you cake, make sure you share - it's the size of your head! The delicious cafe is situated right outside the impressive Grand Ducel Palace. You can opt for lunch upstairs or sit outside and soak up the views. They have so many flavours of hot chocolate to choose from and lots of sweet treats to nibble on. It's a lovely place to rest your weary feet after a few hours exploring the city.

Hotel Le Chatelet
At only a 15 minute walk from the city centre, this family-run hotel is in the perfect location. It's far enough to be in a quiet area yet close enough should you want something a little more lively. Buffet breakfast is also included which is great to help get you started for the day. Pastries galore! The airport is only ten minutes away by car - perfect!

This restaurant is situated in a remodelled ex prison and church near the old town of the city. At lunch time they offer a lovely free jazz concert in the courtyard of the abbey. Afterwards there's a buffet on offer where you can eat until your hearts content! I obviously treated myself to a fair few plates. It's a lovely place to just sit back, relax and enjoy some superb music. It gets extremely busy so get there early before the music starts at 11am.

If you're planning a trip, make sure you visit for some great tips! 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

A Luxembourg City Photo Diary

I have to be honest and say Luxembourg City was never really on my radar but when a press trip popped up, I was intrigued. I decided to go for it because it was something a little out of ordinary, a country I didn't know too much about and a few days away soaking up the vibe of another city. I'm very glad I decided to go!

I had such a lovely three days away and it was such an interesting country to learn about. There's not too much to fit in but I think that is part of it's charm. You can really take your time taking in the sights. Sometimes it all gets a little too much when there's so much on the itinerary. Taking a walk around the old town is wonderful thanks to the architecture being so pretty. There's just something about buildings steeped in history. One thing I love about Europe is that the walls really do speak. You don't always get that history elsewhere. I fully recommend a walking tour so you really get to know the city inside out - it has such an fascinating history.

We were lucky enough to go during their annual free musical festival. Listening to opera from a live orchestra whilst eating dinner outside was genuinely a highlight in my life - it honestly gave me goosebumps.

I won't say too much about recommendations as I'll be putting together a city guide in the next few days. Luxembourg City is the perfect break away if you enjoy good food, good wine and the slower pace of city life. Sometimes it nice to take a step back and just enjoy plodding along at your own pace.

This weekend I'm in Liverpool, June is turning into a very busy month!